Further decline in our national level of public discourse? The right reaping what it sowed in 2004? Both? Probably.
March 31, 2008
March 19, 2008
Man, I thought the speech was impressive before.
That speech today? The one that has pundits–from the liberal David Corn at The Nation (“This is as sophisticated a discussion of race as any American politician has sought to present to the public”) to the conservative Charles Murray, of National Review Online (“it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we’re used to from our pols.”), and those inbetween–noting the brilliance, sophistication, sincerity and candor of the words spoken by Obama? That speech?
He wrote it himself.
Once more, with feeling:
He wrote it. Himself.
Barack Obama did. He wrote it.
Now, if you are like me, and I pray for your soul you are not, you had the normal reaction to finding out this piece of information. You rushed right to the Library of Congress to determine exactly the last time that a President or a presidential candidate wrote a major speech alone, by himself or herself.
And, of course, what you discover is that other than the speeches Obama has written for himself, the last time a major speech was written without the aid of a speechwriter by a president or presidential candidate was Nixon’s “Great Silent Majority” speech delivered on October 13, 1969.
Read on at DailyKos.
Devotees of the West Wing have been talking about it for weeks: the uncanny similarity between the fictional presidential contest that dominated the final seasons of the acclaimed TV show and the real-life drama of this year’s election.
Both the real and imagined campaigns have centred on a young, charismatic candidate from an ethnic minority, daring to take on an establishment workhorse with a promise to transcend race and heal America’s partisan divide.
But there’s a twist.
For what those West Wing fans stunned by the similarity between the fictitious Matthew Santos and the real-life Barack Obama have not known is that the resemblance is no coincidence. When the West Wing scriptwriters first devised their fictitious presidential candidate in the late summer of 2004, they modelled him in part on a young Illinois politician – not yet even a US senator – by the name of Barack Obama.
“I drew inspiration from him in drawing this character,” West Wing writer and producer Eli Attie told the Guardian.
Read on at the Guardian.
(Thanks to Anna for the link.)
March 17, 2008
‘If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,’ said Pugh. ‘You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.’
Read on at the Guardian.
Thanks to Anise for the link.
March 15, 2008
Wednesday morning, the Clinton campaign sent reporters and bloggers covering the campaign a statement that consisted of questions and comments under the title of “Keystone Test: Obama Losing Ground.”
The Obama campaign’s communications department decided to annotate those questions and comments with some comments of their own… and boy, they held nothing back.
Read it over at NPR.
March 10, 2008
Casey Knowles didn’t much like a recent campaign commercial for Hillary Clinton — even though she’s in it as a sleeping 8-year-old.
After all, she about to turn 18 now and is a big supporter of Barack Obama.
…The file footage was originally shot for a railroad company advertisement. The Clinton campaign bought it from Getty Images.
Knowles, a senior at Bonney Lake High School who turns 18 next month, has been campaigning for Obama. She attended his rally at Seattle’s KeyArena on February 8. Her mother, Pam, told The News Tribune of Tacoma that Casey cried and trembled after shaking the candidate’s hand.
The next day, she was a Democratic precinct captain for the state’s caucuses. If she plays her cards right, she could go to the national convention.
Read on at CNN.
March 9, 2008
The uncontroversial contention that Osama Bin Laden and a handful of other known terrorists should not be allowed on an aircraft is being used to create a monster that goes far beyond what ordinary Americans think of when they think about a “terrorist watch list.”
So notes the ACLU on their Watch List Counter. How big is this list now?
Last fall it was at 700,000 names, and growing by 20,000 a month. That means it’s now estimated at over 900,000 names.
As the ACLU puts it:
At that rate, our list will have a million names on it by July. If there were really that many terrorists running around, we’d all be dead…
The numbers are merely a symptom. What’s needed is fairness. If the government is going to rely on these kinds of lists, they need checks and balances to ensure that innocent people are protected.
March 8, 2008
Ben Stein: Ivy League grad, valedictorian from Yale Law, host of a game show whose premise was that he’s super-smart.
Alas, Ben seems to have missed a few science classes somewhere in there, because his latest cause? Creationism.
President Bush broke out one of his rarely-used vetoes for a very important cause: torturing people.
He’s for it, of course.
President Bush said Saturday he vetoed legislation that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods such as waterboarding to break suspected terrorists because it would end practices that have prevented attacks.
Read on at CNN.
March 6, 2008
“It’s indisputable that autism is on the rise among children,” Senator John McCain said while campaigning recently in Texas. “The question is, What’s causing it? And we go back and forth, and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.”
…Several large-scale studies have found no evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism, and medical groups including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics have publicly stated as much. In January, California reported an increase in autism cases, despite the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines.
Read on at the NYTimes.
March 5, 2008
Stephanie Miller kept mentioning this column on her show this morning, so I finally checked it out.
Wow. Math is powerful stuff, y’all, and it doesn’t bode well for Clinton. Alter used Slate’s delegate calculator to suppose that Clinton, against the odds, makes big wins in all the upcoming primaries.
Let’s assume Hillary… has enjoyed a string of 16 victories in a row over three months.
So at the end of regulation, Hillary’s the nominee, right? Actually, this much-too-generous scenario (which doesn’t even account for Texas’s weird “pri-caucus” system, which favors Obama in delegate selection) still leaves the pledged-delegate score at 1,634 for Obama to 1,576 for Clinton. That’s a 58-delegate lead.
Let’s say the Democratic National Committee schedules do-overs in Florida and (heavily African-American) Michigan. Hillary wins big yet again. But the chances of her netting 56 delegates out of those two states would require two more huge margins. (Unfortunately the Slate calculator isn’t helping me here.)
So no matter how you cut it, Obama will almost certainly end the primaries with a pledged-delegate lead, courtesy of all those landslides in February. Hillary would then have to convince the uncommitted superdelegates to reverse the will of the people.
March 3, 2008
“Now, one of Clinton’s laws of politics is this. If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.”
-Bill Clinton, 2004